MCAs halt session to storm mobile court
02 October 2014, 13:36
Vihiga - A mobile court at Chavakali junction in Vihiga County was closed prematurely as rowdy residents who were joined by the Members of the County Assembly stormed the place.
The MCAs cut short a sitting in the county assembly to storm the mobile court 30 minutes after it had started, forcing the Regional Traffic Reinforcement Officer in Western Region, Evans Getembe to call it off. Getembe subsequently closed the court and released those who had been arrested.
Speaking at the scene, the angry MCAs demanded to know why the officers had set it up in Vihiga County as they held travellers for long and thus stalling a lot of activities in the region.
“We have noted with concern that on the days that the mobile court is at this place, there is no activity going on in the County and this is negatively impacting on the economy of the region. Why have the police made Vihiga County their only target? We cannot continue tolerating this,” chairman of the Transport and Infrastructure in the Assembly, Nixon Butiya said.
In the police inspection that started at 8am in the morning and travellers kept waiting, the magistrate arrived at 12:40 pm, and the first person was charged at 12:50pm.
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Chavakali ward rep, Stephen Mugalitsi raised concern that one of the officers who was inspecting the vehicles and writing the charge sheet was drunk and his judgement impaired, leading to noting wrong charges.
The officer was forced to flee in a police van towards Kakamega, as the impatient travellers who had stayed at the place for close to six hours bayed for his blood.
“We have noted that a motorcyclist has just been charged KES 15 000 here right now. How can we be convinced that what he was charged with was genuine?” Mugalitsi posed.
Ben Ombima, who is the security committee chairperson in the Assembly, noted that the courts were imposing exorbitant fines on the boda boda youths forcing many to quit the trade to engage in crime.
“Many of the youths who fear police impounding on their motorcycles have resorted to criminal activities, which had drastically gone down,” he said.
Getembe explained that the judiciary officers delayed to come to the scene leading to the disorder that was witnessed.
But defending himself, a Kakamega resident magistrate, Felix Makoyo said that he had advised the traffic police officers not to arrest any individual unless the court was already set up.
“I had given instructions that people be arrested only when the court was in place, but it is unfortunate that many of the individuals were arrested in the morning and appeared before the court in the afternoon,” Makoyo said.
Makoyo said that the issue of a drunken inspection officer had been raised in the court and was a genuine concern saying the lapse would be addressed.
The magistrate had barely listened to five cases when the crowd become rowdy and uncontrollable, forcing him to close the court.
One of those who had been arrested, Mwanga Shiribwa, said that although the police were trying to bring sanity on the roads, they were using unorthodox methods that were outdated.
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